The final two legs of State Highway 130 opened Wednesday afternoon with an 85 mph speed limit along the 41-mile stretch, making it the fastest roadway in the country.
The final two sections of the toll road were built through a public/private partnership which was financed, designed and built by SH 130 Concession Company, LLC, a joint venture of Cintra U.S. and Zachry American Infrastructure.
"If we were just dependent on traditional funding, this road would not exist today," said Mary Peters, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and a board member of SH 130 Concession Company.
The new sections extend SH 130 from Seguin to just north of Georgetown, a 90-mile stretch that runs parallel to I-35 to help alleviate traffic along the corridor.
"When you're stuck in that traffic between Austin and San Antonio, for instance, everybody understands what this highway -- (and) having access to this highway -- is going to mean," said Gov. Rick Perry.
"The I-35 stretch from Austin to San Antonio, currently, has the highest fatalities per mile of any interstate segment of that size in the United States," added Joe Krier, who sits on the board of the SH 130 Concession Company. "This road gives people a safe, high-speed alternative."
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, Lennon Davidson drove the first delivery truck along the new roadway and he was followed by Martha Carson, an Austin schoolteacher who has made the commute to East Austin from Lockhart for the last six years.
"I think the day they had I-35 closed down, it took me about an hour and 45 minutes to get 30 miles," said Carson, who expects to save anywhere from 10-15 minutes each way. "It just means 15 more minutes to enjoy my coffee and my newspaper in the morning."
Drivers can drive for free on the new section through November 10.
After that, fees will start at 15 cents per mile for owners of TxTags.
A complete one-way trip would run about $12.
TxDot reports show the previously opened sections of SH 130 generated over $40 million in revenue in the last fiscal year.
Revenue generated from the two new sections will help support maintenance costs, which SH 130 Concession Company will oversee for 50 years with no cost to the state.